Photos: OSIRIS-REx departs for Asteroid Bennu atop Atlas V Rocket

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Explorer took the first leap in a long journey through the solar system on Thursday, lifting off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas V rocket on a long-awaited mission to touch an asteroid to answer the long standing question on the origins life.

Rumbling off on time at 23:05 UTC under the loud thunder of its Russian-built rocket engine and lone booster, Atlas V first lifted the spacecraft into a Parking Orbit around Earth before firing its upper stage again to place OSIRIS-REx on a path escaping the grasp of Earth’s gravity at a blazing speed.

>>Read our Launch Recap

All Photos below: United Launch Alliance


All Photos below: NASA